Picture this: You’re gathered around the campfire on a crisp October night, s’more in hand, the moon high overhead, when somebody asks: “Does anyone know any good ghost stories?” Chances are that you’ve heard a good ghost story or a creepy urban legend in your time. Perhaps you’ve even had a spectral encounter yourself, or know someone who claims this experience. Our Books Forward team loves a good spooky story (especially during Halloween), so let’s gather around the virtual campfire and trade our favorite supernatural stories, urban myths, and tales of terror!
“My dad has always sworn that he had a ghostly encounter when he was a kid. He told me that my great grandparents used to live in an old farmhouse up in the Tennessee countryside that was rumored to be haunted. One night when he was 10, he went to stay with them on his first overnight visit. The guest room was technically the master bedroom; a little weird, but he didn’t think anything of it. It was a hot July evening and they didn’t have any AC, so the windows were open, and it took him a long time to fall asleep. But in the middle of the night he woke up suddenly: the room was freezing, so cold he could see his breath, and he said there was a static feeling in the air. He thought he was dreaming. But there was a rocking chair in the corner, and as he watched it started rocking — just a little at first, but then faster and faster, until it was practically scooting on the floor. He started screaming and his grandma rushed in: as soon as she flipped on the light, the rocking chair stopped moving and the temperature rose. He said he still would have thought he had been dreaming — except there was condensation on the windows from the sudden temperature change.
The next morning, his grandma calmly explained that she and her husband had experienced several unexplained phenomena in the house (things moving, temperature changes, etc). She even went as far to say that a local rumor about a murder-suicide of a couple who lived there in the 1930s was probably true, because there was a bullet hole in the kitchen wall. She assured him that, if there were ghosts in the house, they couldn’t hurt him. It was the first and only supernatural encounter my dad ever had, in that house or anywhere else. Nevertheless, he never stayed overnight again.
My dad has stuck by this story throughout my entire life. He says he’s not even sure ghosts are ‘real’ or that he believes in them, but he nevertheless maintains he experienced something that can’t be explained.”
— Chelsea Apple, Content Creator
The Sultan’s Mansion
“I live in New Orleans, one of the most haunted cities in America, so of course I have a ghost story or two to tell! There are nightly ghost tours throughout the French Quarter, and I happen to live near one of the famous stops, the Sultan’s Mansion. I’ve heard several versions of this story, but my favorite goes like this:
A mysterious man who claimed to be the brother of a Turkish sultan moved into the multi-story house, and every night from then on were lavish parties with loud, exotic music, booze flowing freely and beautiful women dancing high up on the balconies. This went on for weeks, but then one rainy night, there was stark silence. A woman walking her dog saw blood spilling from the doorway into the street and called for the police to come immediately. The police arrived at a gory scene, dismembered bodies throughout the mansion and the sultan’s brother freshly buried in the courtyard. No one knows for sure why this massacre occurred, but they suspect the man who moved into the house had actually fled his home country after stealing his brother’s riches and harem, and the sultan got his revenge.
Today? The Sultan’s Mansion is separated into apartments. I knew someone who lived there, and let’s just say the ghostly happenings inside that house creeped her out so much, she moved out a month later.”
— Angelle Barbazon, Lead Publicist
A Rocking Chair for Charlotte
“The middle school I went to in sixth grade had a girl’s locker room haunted by a girl named Linda Landy who died there years ago after a tragic accident. There was a plaque outside honoring her and everything. There were multiple instances where people felt as if they were being pushed while we got ready for PE. There was a heaviness about the locker room in general.
I also had a friend who lived in the old post hospital that was renovated into a house. There was a mother named Charlotte and baby who died there and it was a genuine rule that whoever lived in the house had to provide a rocking chair for Charlotte. If you didn’t have one, they would supply one. His bedroom was the old morgue and he invited us over to see the house once. When we were there we went upstairs to where the rocking chair was and it started to move slowly. There was no window open and the AC was off and I still have no explanation.”
— Rachel Hutchings, Publicist
“As a native Louisianan, there’s one urban legend that instantly comes to mind: the Rougarou. Funny name but terrifying to think about. The werewolf-ish creature stalks the swamps and bayous of southeastern Louisiana, allegedly feasting on disobedient Catholics who don’t observe Lent. (I could breathe a sigh of relief growing up in Evangelical north Louisiana!)
But I do know a lot of people whose parents scolded them as children, threatening them with, “If you don’t behave, the Rougarou is gonna get you!” But you could protect yourself from the monstrous dog creature by putting 13 pennies or rocks on your doorstep or windowsill for him to try and count (he’s REALLY bad at math, and this will distract him until he ultimately gives up and goes back to the swamp.)”
— Jennifer Vance, Publicist
“I’ve always had a lot of deja vu — when I was younger, I just assumed I was a witch, naturally, but someone told me a story about deja vu when I was a teenager that has always stuck with me and creeped me out. They said that deja vu happens when a spirit has appeared and needs to mist over our memory of what we’ve just seen because it was too much for us to handle. So now I shiver EVERY TIME I have deja vu — what did I just miss, and who has been messing with my mind?”
–Ellen Whitfield, Senior Publicist
“I’m not saying I believed in Bloody Mary…but I didn’t not believe. The Bloody Mary legend I heard was sort of like a dare: you were meant to go into a bathroom, turn out the light, close the door, and chant her name while staring in the bathroom mirror. Supposedly she was meant to show up in the mirror and — well, I’m not sure what was meant to happen next, but I’m guessing it wasn’t good! I definitely would get freaked out when friends tried to summon her in the bathroom in grade school. I never did so myself. However, I did overcome my fear by dressing as Bloody Mary for Halloween with a New Orleans spin. I used a mirror and a fake Bloody Mary drink to make it look as if the drink was pouring over my head!”
— Marissa DeCuir, President & Partner
Chelsea is a copywriter, editor, publicist, and content creator at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers. Interested in what’s possible for your book sales and building readership? Check out our services, tell us your goals, and get a customized publicity campaign tailored just for you.